Friday, April 19, 2013

Wimseys Blog: Diary of a Manhattan Bloodhound #302

Entry #302
April 19, 2013

Hello everyone, Wimsey here, coming to you from Manhattan’s Upper West Side where I have, as usual, been out and about making my imposing presence known to my fellow citizens.  Around here it’s not “Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No it’s Superman!” but “Is it a mastiff? Is it a pony? Is it a mutant basset hound?” No, it’s Wimsey—a very large, very loud and very smelly slobber slinging Manhattan Bloodhound.  But I am gigantic like a mastiff, expensive like a pony and as stubborn as any basset, hound, mutant or not.
But of course my favorite question is “What kind of dog is he” because my human Maria and her friend Elizabeth have all kinds of replies to that one, most of them unprintable.  Apparently they consider me difficult.  Not the least because this week I have been spectacularly uncooperative in the matter of posing for photographs.  But of course I am perfectly willing to pose for photographs—particularly when attending weddings to which I have not been invited (see last week’s post).  And of course this week there was the small matter of declining to take lovely spring walks in the park in favor of visiting my favorite pet shops and constructions sites—neither apparently rate very high in the pantheon of desirable photo locales. 

But I know what awaits me if I go to the park—the Dreaded Flowering Tree Season has begun and I will be forced to pose pointlessly in front of any number of decorative trees instead of doing to them what male dogs with gargantuan bladders prefer to do to them.  On Sunday for instance we went to visit the cherry trees along the bridle path which are just starting to bloom.  I was fortunate however in that the harsh spring sunlight proved so displeasing to Elizabeth’s photographic ambitions that we did not linger long.  And although I was not directly responsible (in this case) for thwarting my humans’ desires it still resulted in the blessed banishing of the camera.
I have spoken many times about the joys of spring—usually in regard to my predilection for depositing excrement in flower beds (or better yet, on top of a bloom itself) but there are many other activities to which I reintroduce my humans every year.  And although mud puddles tend to figure prominently in them there is also the whole matter of grass.  Like any giant Hound who fancies himself a ruminant manqué I enjoy a good grass chew.  Unfortunately because I don’t seem to chew enough (or perhaps because I lack the grinding dentition of a true herbivore) and because my digestive tract lacks the apparatus necessary for grass digestion, what comes out is pretty much what goes in:  long, luscious blades of grass which my humans are frequently forced to extract from my nether bits by hand.  Can there really be any other harbinger of spring quite as delightful as the sight of my humans crouched over my posterior examining it with all the intensity of a couple of curators inspecting a Vermeer?  Fortunately the grass itself doesn’t upset my stomach—that job is left to all the stuff I ingest when my humans aren’t paying enough attention.

And of course as soon as there is grass I employ my patented “drop and roll” maneuver whenever my humans want me to go in one direction (especially those that lead in a homewards direction) and I wish to go in another (especially those that lead opposite to a homewards direction). My humans are indeed fortunate that my black and tan coat does not show the grass stains but they are not so lucky with the earthy, swampy smell that extensive grass rolling imparts.  Ah spring!
Anyway, there were no weddings to crash this week but there were Frenchies, Frenchies, Frenchies!  It was pretty much a daily Frenchie Fest. I love French bulldogs (even though as a true French breed I should resent the fact that they are actually English imposters).  Three fawn Frenchie puppies now live on my block in addition to my buddy Pluto, the tricolor guy who lives around the corner.  But they have become so popular in New York that I even meet them when perambulating in the park! 
And Frenchies tend to like big dogs which is fortunate, although I generally think of myself as a little dog (especially when it comes to sitting on laps) and I am quite willing to get down to their level lest they find my size inimical to social interaction.  The fact that they snore and are very flatulent and extremely stubborn gives us so much to talk about!

Also this week on Thursday I decided to visit Columbus Circle.  There is a statue of Christopher Columbus on top of a pedestal so high that you can’t actually see him very well. But considering some of his antics, maybe that’s a good thing.  My ancestor Pedro Huberto de Trasero d’Oro Wimsie (expensive anal gland issues run in the family) who was El Sabueso Supremo to their royal majesties Ferdinand and Isabella had his own account of things which has come down through the Wimsey family:

Highlights from the Life of Christopher Columbus

King of Portugal: No.
King of England: No
King of Portugal: No again.
Ferdinand and Isabella: No.
Columbus: But Japan is only 2400 miles from Spain!
Royal Cartographer: It’s not you know.
Ferdinand and Isabella: You’re annoying—if we ask for a proposal will you go away?
Columbus: Not really, I have a date with destiny.  I also have a proposal--I want you to make me an Admiral and I want you to give me a share of the profits from my discoveries.
Isabella: That’s outrageous!
Ferdinand: Let’s give him anything he wants—we’ll never see this clown again anyway and the trip will get rid of him. Permanently.
Ferdinand and Isabella: OK. Deal. Go. Bring us back some sushi.

Columbus: Here I am in Japan!
Navigator: We’re in the Bahamas.
Columbus: But that’s somewhere in the Indies, right?   If I refer to these people as Indians no one will ever know. Anyway, I’ll just declare the Bahamas part of the Indies and since I’m the guy making the maps if I say we’re in the Indies, we’re in the Indies.

Ferdinand and Isabella: Where are the gold and the spices?
Columbus: I’ve got some might tasty coconuts here.
Ferdinand and Isabella: No gold. No spices. And we hear that you suck as a Governor.  We’re arresting you for abuse of power.
Columbus: Since when did killing people become illegal?
Ferdinand and Isabella:  Well we only kill people who we think deserve it. And anyway we’re the king and queen so we don’t count and you’re just a guy who spent a lot of our hard non-earned money discovering some nice beaches.
Isabella: Clap him in irons!
Ferdinand: OK, but let’s release him after a month or so and we can send him off on another Voyage of Discovery.
Isabella:  All right but let’s hope that this time that he discovers how to be fish food.   And you’re such a softie that it’s amazing that The Inquisition gets anything useful accomplished.

Columbus:  OK, I’m baaack. I’ve made my 4th voyage and I’m retiring. I’d like my 10% cut of the New World please.
Ferdinand and Isabella: You again! 10%! Who do you think you are, a Hollywood agent?!  We are the Absolute Monarchs of the Spanish Empire—we take people’s money we don’t give it to them.  Anyway, the 10% is of the net not the gross, so when we deduct all the expenses you actually owe us money. But we’ll forgive the debt and you have the thanks of grateful omnipotent autocrats.
Columbus: I’m suing!
Ferdinand and Isabella:  He’s gone native! He’s an American!

Well you get the idea. 

And my humans can relate to Columbus’ plight since they frequently try to get to one place but end up someplace completely different.  Fortunately they do have the grace to admit that they are in a pet shop and not in the park.  And I am very glad that Columbus made his voyage because I get so much enjoyable attention walking around his circle.

Anyway, after strolling around Columbus Circle and reflecting on history, I felt the need to take a refreshing dip in the fountain at 59th street but I was cruelly prevented by Elizabeth who frowns on pubic bathing.  She also frowns on the expensive tickets that public bathing engenders.  But since she cruelly prevented me from going into the fountain I cruelly prevented her from going home.  For three hours.   It was a lovely afternoon (at least for me) and the light was perfect for photography.  Unfortunately I was not perfect for photography so she has very little documentation of those many happy hours of me procrastinating in the park.

I think I will leave it there for this week.  Our friend Nancy (she of the new baby whose debut in a snack feeding stroller I am eagerly awaiting) bought me a gift that she found on her last trip home to Canada  (because what’s a trip home to Canada without a little shopping for me).   It’s a possum that has a squeaker and a Velcro pouch for an empty, crunchy water bottle!  Could anything be more perfect for a water bottle loving (and stealing) Hound such as myself?! I already figured out how to remove the water bottle so now my humans have to buy an endless supply of my preferred brand and size to re-equip the toy. It gives a whole new meaning to playing possum. Thank you Nancy!

Until next time,

Wimsey, the Gem of New York City

Friday, April 12, 2013

Wimsey's Blog: Diary of a Manhattan Bloodhound #301

Entry #301
April 12, 2013

Hello Everyone, it’s me, Wimsey, coming to you from Manhattan’s Upper West Side where April showers bring May flowers which bring May showers of a different, and yellowish kind.   One of the great joys of spring is the upgrading of my toilet environment to include bright blossoms and fertile flowerbeds.   But spring has had very little traction around here this week—we’ve gone from winter to summer (two 80 degree days) and now back to a chilly winter rain.  As you can see in many of this week’s pics I am caparisoned in my red raincoat.

I very nearly was able to appear in yet another new seasonal coat—a yellow raincoat—but this has proven to be a subject of some controversy.  My human Maria dislikes yellow raincoats—she thinks that they make me look like a crossing guard (I do stop traffic after all) but her friend Elizabeth who, in spite of some major deficiencies in her own wardrobe which consist primarily of smelly jeans, worn sneakers and drool stained t-shirts and sweaters, enjoys buying me clothes--the flashier the better (because a giant, baying black and tan Hound in the middle of Manhattan is just not conspicuous enough). 

So this week while I was helpfully inventorying the merchandise at Petland, Elizabeth --brandishing a fistful of turkey--and a clerk induced me to try on a new yellow XXL raincoat.  And as the issue with raincoats is always the neck size which has to be capacious enough to accommodate my magnificent, but bulky, dewlap, she focused on that but neglected to assess the fit of the girth. I mean it’s an XXL so it should be plenty large, right? Wrong.  Apparently the term “large” no matter how many extra Xs are added to it does not begin to define my majestic proportions.  So I am sadly in my regular red raincoat, which is also a tad too small, pending the purchase of some Velcro strap extenders. 
Elizabeth was hoping to photograph me today with humans who are also wearing yellow slickers but this will have to be a pleasure deferred.  Of course the benefit of the red raincoat is that Elizabeth also has a matching one (which it has not been warm enough to wear yet) and when she and I walk down the street in our coats we create more than the usual pandemonium.

And speaking of pandemonium, the neighbor’s little doodle, Teddy, whom I love to hunt, came into the building this afternoon a few minutes ahead of me and I am afraid that the scent of him caused me to carry on to such an extent that people were coming out of their ground floor apartments to see what was making all that noise. If no one expects the Spanish Inquisition they certainly don’t expect a giant, excited, loudly baying Hound in the lobby of their Manhattan apartment building!

Elizabeth found the ruckus I was making extremely embarrassing which naturally caused me to redouble my acoustic efforts.  Embarrassing her is one of the many reasons that I enjoy spending my afternoons in her care. And I have now decided that not only is it Elizabeth and not my actual, official primary human, Maria, who should be responsible for putting in my eye ointment, cleaning my ears, brushing my teeth, soaking and or compressing whichever bit of me requires it, but also that she should administer any of the plethora of pills that I always seem to be taking.  The fact that Elizabeth gives me these pills in fat wads of turkey and yam has absolutely nothing to do with it. 

Elizabeth and I just fit together so well and read each other’s minds so nicely—like this afternoon when I detected that she was in desperate need of a nap and I decided that I was in desperate need of a noisy rawhide project.  There is nothing quite so relaxing when one is attempting to nap as the sound of a Hound loudly masticating and macerating a rawhide.

Anyway, as I guess you can tell, today was just one of those perfect days (at least for me).  Not only did I extort a significant amount of turkey in return for wearing my raincoat but I also managed to identify and track a small human carrying a large squeaky toy which I had every intention of relieving him of—and bayed at him to that effect—until cruelly prevented by kill joy Elizabeth who frowns on such activities.

And on rainy days such as today the water falling from the sky (which I know my humans are to blame for, no matter how much they protest to the contrary when I stare at them in an aggrieved manner) causes me to think about the water right here on earth and thus off to The Lake in Central Park I tow.  I love to watch the ducks and the geese and always attempt to get to know them up close and personal.  My humans, however, would prefer that I not get to know them up close and personal but today while Elizabeth was fiddling with the camera I took the opportunity to attempt to dive off a rock to accomplish these socialable aims.  It was a near thing but apparently the Park Rangers and their fat ticket books frown on poultry-seeking aquatic Hound missiles. I did manage to dip my toes in The Lake, however, and it was apparently just enough to give me that lovely Swamp Thing odor so beloved by my humans.

Anyway, then I got to crash another wedding at the adjacent Ladies Pavilion.  I met the bride and groom as they were about to enter the park and the bride gave me a lovely scratch until Elizabeth pointed out the potential inadvisability of scratching me whilst wearing a white wedding dress. 
Here is the groom and the officiant (and me) and here I am about to greet the bride and escort her down the path to her groom. Elizabeth explained to them that my deeply romantic nature and love of weddings causes me to want to get involved whether invited or not (and there are many a wedding video with a loudly baying, towing Hound in the background).

But if I walk a bride down the aisle (or the path) the lyrics to the wedding march should be adjusted:

Wimsey’s Wedding March

Here comes the bride (and her Hound)
Mostly dressed in white
Sweetly, serenely, smellily
In the soft glowing light.

Lovely to see
Her being towed to thee
Sweet love united
For an eternity of shared catering to the Hound.

Well you get the idea.

Let’s see, in other news I got to spend last Sunday night with Elizabeth because Maria came down with a tummy bug—probably from some garbage she ate off the street.  And the experience of annoying Elizabeth for a full 24 hours was somewhat mitigated by the fact that she gave me a bath. She calls it hygiene. I call it revenge.  In any case, it’s nothing that a few days or a dip in The Lake won’t cure. 

Well I think that’s about it for this week.  The weather is supposed to improve over the next few days which will make for some lovely walks and some productive strolls past diners in outdoor cafes.
Until next time,

Wimsey, Red Rover

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Wimsey's Blog: Diary of a Manhattan Bloodhound #300

Entry #300
April 6, 2013

Hello Everyone, it’s me, Wimsey* coming to you after my holiday hiatus from Manhattan’s Upper West Side where everyone has been demanding that early Spring predicting groundhog’s blood.  (*Really I should say “it is I, Wimsey” but after so many years of having “who’s walking who” instead of “who’s walking whom” yelled at me, my grammatical standards, if not my leash yanking ones, have slackened considerably.) Let us just say that the temperatures have been a bit brisk around here and that my human Maria and her friend Elizabeth have for once been amenable to being sat upon by a giant, toasty warm Hound (bruises not included).  However, whether they are amenable or not, sit upon them I will, since as a petite, comfort seeking lapdog it is a very enjoyable experience. At least for me.
Well, can you believe that this is the 300th episode of a diary devoted to the fascinating subject of my life and activities! My humans would be afraid that it would go to my head except that there is very little room up there owing to all the space that is taken up by inputs from my nose and my stomach.  In fact, I have so little neuronal processing power that I am frequently incapable of accepting any information from my other senses such as my ears (I don’t hear my humans yell “Wimsey, no!” or “Wimsey stop that!” or (fatuously) “Wimsey get your nose out of there!”) or from my eyes (I don't see my humans walk in a different direction from the one in which I am going or to notice that there are strolling humans blocking the path down which I am barreling).  I do, however, reserve a few megabytes for hearing the rustle of the package containing my bribing door snacks or for the sound of Elizabeth sitting down on the couch and opening a newspaper or for the refrigerator door opening.  And although I frequently fail to see my humans I do seem to be able to see other humans who are eating desirable foods at outdoor cafes or who are clutching crunchy plastic water bottles.

Anyway, I am sure everyone is eager to hear how I have been spending the last two weeks so I thought I would use some photographs to illustrate—a picture is after all worth a thousand words and a picture of a loquacious Hound such as myself is worth a good deal more than that.  But first let me say that my human Maria has been busy with very late nights at work and so for my comfort (and her sanity) I have been staying over at Elizabeth’s quite a bit. Those of you who read this blog know how much I enjoy staying with Elizabeth (a sentiment which sadly is not reciprocated unless there is a lot of gin involved) principally because I find so many ways to bother, inconvenience, incommode and generally make a nuisance of myself at her place-- everything from having late night conversations with Hedgie, my giant hedgehog to demanding that she come into the kitchen and admire me while I eat (I hate eating alone).  And I also need her pant leg to use as a napkin when I have finished consuming my meal.

But I digress. This week I am presenting an annotated guide to photos of some of my favorite activities.

  So as usual a big part of any week is being admired and petted by the Hound loving public.  Notice that these ladies are prudently standing out of drool smearing range. My humans are thinking of patenting a mechanical  hand on a stick (a very long stick) for hygienic Hound petting. Top questions my humans get in this situation: Is he friendly, can I pet him and does he bite. (answers: Yes but he drools, yes but he drools and no but he drools).

Here I am in one of my favorite positions.  You have heard me refer in the past to standing on my head--well this is what it looks like.  I also sometimes spin in this position.  It's a bloodhound thing. Or maybe a Wimsey thing. Or possibly a crazy dog thing.

OK, so here I am just sitting around nicely in the park, right? Wrong. I have just parked my tush in the dirt and am refusing to move until a piece of turkey is forthcoming (the vertical string of drool is the giveaway--I am, as usual, anticipating a successful outcome to my efforts and making sure that I have sufficient salivary resources available to process my prize.

 This is me giving my humans the patented Wimsey glare. Why? Notice that my head is pointed in one direction--the one that my humans intend walking in, whilst my body is pointed in another direction--the one in which I intend walking in. Guess which way we're going?

 This is me conducting a lengthy investigation of a hillside.  It is entirely coincidental that Elizabeth is standing on a path that leads to the path that leads to the park exit.

 Elizabeth is now waving a piece of turkey in hopes of convincing me to curtail my exploratory activities and to possibly decide that I might like to go home some time this decade. Such weighty decisions require careful consideration however and cannot be rushed.

 We're finally on the way home but progress can be slow owing to the need to take frequent, restorative turkey breaks.

On another day (every day, really) I am about to drag Elizabeth into my favorite pet shop, Unleashed-- home of the Hedgies and the gourmet cookie bar and the admiring staff!

Here is the result of Elizabeth proffering turkey to get me to leave Unleashed and to continue our walk and perhaps even do something radical like pee.

 Looks like I am taking another turkey break, right? Wrong.  I am conducting a sit down strike.  If you magnify the awning in the background right hand side of the photo you will see that it says "Furry Paws." What can I say--I am a Hound shopaholic. One of the many reasons that my walks require an entire fun-filled afternoon to conduct.

The Museum of Natural History is in the background here.  As you can see I have no intention of leaving this area. People picnic here. And where there are picnics there are picnic remains. I consider it my solemn, civic duty to clean these up. It's a tough job but some huge, hungry garbage hunting Hound has to do it.

 Aren't those flower beds in the background pretty? I just pooped in them. Fertilizing the flower beds is just one of my many horticultural duties.

Here is a picture of the guy who runs my favorite pedicab stand. Also a tourist from Scotland who wants to take my picture. Also his son who is eating a pretzel. 

 That pretzel is looking mighty tasty.

 And here I am baying at the kid to fork over that tasty pretzel.  I don't have the pictures but the father did feed it to me--torn up into the nice bite sized pieces that I prefer naturally. Bay and you shall receive. Works for me.

 Another one of my important civic duties is to inspect packages and ensure that they do not contain anything dangerous like sandwiches or salamis or cookies that I then must confiscate.

And here I am being thanked for my dilligence by members of the grateful public. I am determined to keep them safe. And thin.

Well I think I will leave it there for this week. And next week when you look at my photos remember that they are often (or always) not exactly what they seem.  I am off to plop myself down on a park bench and wait for Spring. Or for a fist full of turkey. Or for some nice tourist to donate a sandwich.

Until next time,

Wimsey--good things come in drooly, hard to move packages